Office of International Services

Rights and Responsibilities

Rights & Responsibilities for SEVIS Students (F-1/J-1 Status)

OIS advisors strongly encourage every F-1 or J-1 student at NC State University to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the rights, responsibilities, benefits, and laws pertaining to your nonimmigrant status and to make every effort to maintain lawful nonimmigrant status. The list of requirements listed below is an abbreviated outline for your convenient review and does not include exceptions, background notes, eligibility requirements, or other important information – this is only a summary! Please consult the OIS website, an OIS advisor, a qualified immigration attorney, or the USCIS website for details concerning the laws, regulations, procedures (and latest forms, fees, addresses) pertaining to your F-1 or J-1  nonimmigrant status.

Immigration Documents

Your passport, Form I-94, and NC State issued Form I-20 or DS-2019 are extremely important documents.  It is your responsibility to keep them safe, to apply for extensions as necessary in a timely manner, and to replace them promptly if they are lost or stolen.  The I-20 expiration date is indicated by the "completion of studies" date in Item #5.  The DS-2019 expiration date is indicated by the end date in Item #3.   Contact the Office of International Services (OIS) for an extension or replacement of Form I-20 or DS-2019 and for assistance in applying to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for replacement of Form I-94.  You must keep your passport valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times.  Apply to your embassy or consulate to extend or replace your passport.  You must read and clearly understand the material on page 2 of Form I-20 (F-1/F-2) and Form DS-2019 (J-1/J-2) of your DS-2019.

Maintaining Status:

  • F-1 and J-1 students must maintain continuous full-time (Undergraduate students= 12+ hours, Graduate students= 9+ hours) enrollment each semester
  • F-1 and J-1 students must keep their immigration documents valid at all times (passports must be valid at least 6 months into the future including those of dependents)
  • F-1 and J-1 students must restrict any on-campus employment to a maximum of 20 hours/week (Except during breaks and annual vacation semesters)
  • F-1 and J-1 students cannot work off-campus without prior written permission/approval from USCIS or OIS
  • F-1 and J-1 students cannot take more than 1 (3 credit) Distance Education (DE) or online course each semester
  • F-1 and J-1 students cannot change level of study, take a leave of absence, withdraw or take a reduced course load (drop below full-time enrollment) without prior written approval from OIS.  Students should contact OIS to update the I-20/ DS-2019 for other changes in program information such as a change in major or funding.
  • F-1 and J-1 students must notify OIS (via My PACK) of any address change within 10 days of moving.
  • F-1 and J-1 students must maintain the University Student Health Insurance.

Regulations and procedures are subject to change; please consult with an OIS advisor in advance of taking any action.


Other important reminders, rights, or requirements for international students at NC State: 

  1. You must pay your tuition, fees, and outstanding debts to the University each semester before you can register for the next semester.  OIS has no financial aid or tuition loans that international students can use. If you cannot pay the next semester’s bill, please make an appointment to speak with an OIS advisor to discuss other options
  2. You must purchase and maintain the University Student Health Insurance plan each semester. All international students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status are required to purchase the North Carolina State University student health insurance plan administered by Pearce & Pearce.You must also be sure Student Health has documentation that you have all your immunizations. For more information about the health insurance, please visit:
  3. Be safe, secure, and smart. You have the right to live, study, and work in an environment free of danger or harassment. If you are the victim of abuse, are sexually harassed, are made to feel uncomfortable because of your country of origin, or feel threatened please tell someone. You can always contact Campus Police, Office of Student Conduct, Office of Equal Opportunity, Student Health, Student Counseling Center, Student Legal Affairs, Women’s Center, OIS, the Department Head of your department, and a dozen other on- or off-campus resources. If you encounter a problem, ask us – we’ll help
  4. Do not break any civil or criminal laws and fulfill all your legal obligations. If you run into legal difficulty or are arrested see Student Legal Services right away for confidential assistance. They can also advise you concerning other legal issues. Do not choose to not pay someone for something or to not fulfill a contractual obligation without checking with Student Legal Services first. Do not listen to legal or immigration advice from your friends or relatives. The laws are different in the U.S. and every year several international students encounter trouble in misunderstanding laws or other legal expectations
  5. Learn and obey the Code of Student Conduct or your status may be terminated. Do your own academic work and do not work with others, copy, or fail to cite your sources unless the instructor clearly indicates otherwise. Do not hurt or threaten to hurt anyone. Do not stalk or harass others. Do not lie, steal, plagiarize, slander, or violate any professional standards of conduct
  6. Do not drive in North Carolina unless and until you have a valid driver’s license and adequate automobile insurance. Do not ever drive while or immediately after drinking alcohol. Do not exceed the speed limit. Do not leave the scene of an accident if you are involved. Always wear seatbelts and always use proper car seats for small children
  7. Purchase renter’s insurance for your apartment and possessions
  8. Be sure you file any and all your income tax returns if and when you are required to. The IRS will share data with the USCIS and Social Security Administration. Failure to file tax returns and pay state and federal taxes is a violation of status and can result in your being deported, denied benefits, and most commonly denied future visas
  9. If you have children: do not hurt your children in any way or leave minor children unattended – they can be taken away from you and every resident in North Carolina is required to report suspected child abuse or neglect
  10. Do not drink or try to purchase alcohol or tobacco products if you are under 21. Do not drink alcohol in public or while driving. Do not bring weapons or drugs to campus or try to ship them to or from your country
  11. Money Advice: spend your money wisely and do not borrow much if any – especially on credit cards
  12. Be careful crossing the streets, traveling at night, and leaving your possessions/residence unlocked.


International students have rights as well as responsibilities – rights granted by the U.S. constitution, the laws of North Carolina, and the policies of NC State University. If you have any question about what your rights may be, please consult competent legal advice – Student Legal Services can help you if you are a student and paying the Student Fees. Non-students must seek outside counsel, but an OIS advisor can help put you in touch with someone. Everyone does have the right to competent counsel so don’t waive, forget, or abuse your rights. Everyone has the right to live peacefully, to study in a safe environment, to be free from harassment or discrimination, etc.  

Some interesting external websites (not necessarily endorsed by OIS) about student “rights” can be found below: